BANGALORE: The Bangalore urban and forest mobile squad, North Division arrested a Krishnagiri-based Hakkipikki tribal, Venkatesk aka Kumar, while he was trying to sell 200 black-headed Munias, a rare breed of birds usually seen moving in groups on agricultural land. Following a tip off from an NGO, the forest squad, in the guise of customers, landed in Attibele near Hosur in Tamil Nadu. Kumar was arrested when he was trying to sell the birds.
He has been booked under Wildlife Protection Act. As per the Act, the accused will undergo 3 to 7 years of imprisonment apart from paying fine, said Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) C Manjunath.
When questioned, he denied his involvement in the illegal trade and claimed, “I am an unemployed man. While I was standing here, an unidentified man gave me this basket with birds and fled. I was arrested and a case was booked against me.” Officials from the forest squad confirmed that there was a huge demand for Black-headed Munias in Bangalore and Mysore.
Manjunath said,“To meet the demands of people from Bangalore and Mysore, the tribals camouflage the birds and colour them before selling. The life span of theses birds is as less as 2 years. Due to the illegal trade, black-headed Munias are on the verge of extinction.” The accused was arrested in 2006 for the same offense. The department has now taken strict action against such hawkers. Sellers and buyers of these birds will be penalised, he said.